Imagination is better than knowledge. ~ Albert Einstein

My mid-morning starts with little rays of sunshine. David, the future CEO, and Jake, the future geek-turned-genius-turned-savior of cyberspace (or whatever will replace it) are in my first class. Jan Di and Jun Pyo, not their real names, come next. After eating my daily serving of kimchi, there is Jake and David again, and then Terry with his endearing antics and Anna with her Harry Potter stories.

My late afternoon comes later than sooner after that, and I would want to race the clock. Erin, Kailly and Jason are in my fourth class. They are a trio of sanguines, songbirds and fanatics of hangman but never of the class.

I never disliked them, but I never enjoyed fourth class much.

Now on my way to work on Tuesday morning, I prayed that God will let me handle each class. Handle is the operating word there. I could not enjoy what I could not handle. I could juggle and struggle. But you cannot enjoy what you cannot handle.

My mid-morning started with few clouds overhead. I just went around with the clock in my first class. No conversation, no hangman. David used to say I am a “kankan” (stickler). That time I was really one. We studied grammar non-stop for 1.20 hours.

In my Basic Creative Writing class, the clouds disappeared. Somehow I got what this man Albert Einstein quipped, and I started to loosen up. I imagined a class bound by rules on the sides and by nothing up above. I enjoined my students to imagine with me. If they were inventors, what would their inventions be?

Jay drew a fighting jet. Esther painted a bear, a penguin and sheep. By the way, I do not know how to interpret her work but today I just found out she wants to be a painter. Inventions are like a painter’s masterpiece. I get her point. Anna reinvented the Harry Potter story. Terry reinvented himself. The boy really wanted to be a baseball star.

But Erin, Kailly and Jason – these guys surprised me! I entered the room acknowledging them as my favorite class, and laughter and energy then burst on and on in the three-man room upstairs. I made them inventors for 1.20 hours, and creativity spurted in the atmosphere.

Front R-Back L: Anna, Esther, Kailly & Erin ♥

My favorite idea was Erin’s. “Fast Calculate” works similarly to a metal detector. Get your shopping cart or basket, shop for your goods and go directly past “Fast Calculate” – it spares you of the frills of falling in line and forgetting your credit cards at home so you will have to pay cash (this part is not so good). Jason’s invention was a ship that can transport planes, cars and trains. Kailly was the best inventor in the academy. Hers was “Fantastic Coin”. It is a vendo-type machine that allows you to play vids, pc games or MP3s in public!

Mr. Lee says we need to adopt the military style in our class management. But in tapping students’ potential, you sometimes have to learn to smile – and be the little rays of sunshine in their lives.

God is teaching me to hold other people’s hands. Like Mr. Fredricksen in UP, who held Russell’s hands in their adventure, I am learning that in fulfilling my dreams, I am to help others fulfill theirs in the run. And sometimes, we need to push people to reach their potential. But there are times, such as this, when all you have to do is give Erin, Kailly and Jason…the nudge.


Teacher, do you study CEO at Wherstern? He meant Wharton, and perhaps study business administration. But I was too concerned with his one day being accepted by Wharton into its pool of potential CEOs – I didn’t bother to laugh.

Normally I’d laugh, I liked English very much I couldn’t stand mispronounced words, subject-verb disagreements and faulty tenses. It might be the same thing with my sort-of-a-Physics-geek friend whenever I tried to discuss the Theory of Relativity with  her. Maybe my own pseudo-theories sounded like a gong to her ears, and she’d laugh. A well-meaning and not necessarily condescending laugh.

But this time, I just couldn’t laugh it out. David was in my Advance Grammar & Creative Writing Class in a Korean institution. When you sit in about a 1×1 sq.m. classroom with two brilliant foreign students, the other dreaming of becoming a computer programmer and hacking intensively around cyberworld someday, and not get it that somehow you’ve got your hands on tomorrow’s destiny – just get out of there fast.

Now I have two choices: be concerned with their English usage alone, or be concerned with how they are going to live their lives with a little bit of English knowledge. Should I relay knowledge? Or should I impart wisdom?

I know my students can write. In other words, they can express themselves. Whenever their essay tests are turned in, their ideas surprise me. They remind me of the voice that lay beneath the layers of rules and such technicalities, waiting to be heard.

I want my sense of hearing, soul-wise, to function inside the classroom. As a creative writer by profession, my main concern should be grammar and stuff. But as a teacher by heart, my responsibility is to blaze a trail for my students so they can find their way in life, even in and out of the “grammar and stuff”.

*Play those lines, So this is how it feels, reaching for heaven, please*

What’s a science geek doing on a skating rink? Ask Coach Tina. Well, ask Jen too. It’s not the computer that does the jumps. Casey knows that. Casey finally learns that. It’s not much physics knowledge that will take you through the triple Lutz, it’s what’s in here ♥.

So you finally remember where the story comes from. When Tina puts that tiny but lovely tiara on Casey’s head, that’s my aww-moment. And then this:

Tina: One more thing.

Casey: What?

Tina: Skate with your heart.

For someone who’s seen it for the nth time, it feels weird to be crying a-gain during that part. I already know what’s coming. I know I’d be crying.;p

Maybe you don’t get why I should be crying like that. But you don’t get stiff and all when Disney talks about your dreams, both dead and awake, and it shows them alive and awaiting to your face.

Well, I should speak only for myself. I’m the only one who’s uncool here for thinking that way, anyway. As for you, you’re a princess or a prince of something. (I hope you) go and find it out there.

The subtitle, My Christmas Happy List.

If I am recalling it right, Oprah Winfrey happens to have written way before I have a Happiness List of some sort. But I am not copycatting her. I am, for my own sake, choosing to be happy. Get that? 🙂

The same way electricity flows from the source to the wires to the tiny, sparkly bulbs on the Christmas tree, so flow inspiration from the source to the heart to the soul. These things should primarily occur within. (Oh yeah, sometimes my analogies are blah!)

So there, I am giving you a special sneak peek privilege (cos you checked out this post, anyway) to my growing Christmas Happy List. Things and people in no order:

1. Walk out the apartment door and into the blazing street and sun

At least, get a feel of the city by day. The nice things about working from home are obvious – no figuring out how to stay/get out of the street gridlock, no elbowing or getting elbowed by fellow human beings on the train, no fussing too much over non-job-related stuff.

But you do miss the nice things out there. The breeze, especially in December and January, when it blows and it blows cold and nostalgia. You miss the existence of another real, breathing, sweating human being racing you to the end of the sidewalk. You will always miss on something if you do not get out of your comfort zone. No frills, no thrills.

2. Buying your favorite dessert

Forget about Reese Peanut Butter Cups and anything Lindt. Our very own ChocNut is enough to make my day. I treat myself with > or = 5 pcs/meal. It is for walking out on the hot pavement and breathing in car smoke just to eat lunch and not suffer from hyperacidity. He he. With Coke and this, I am getting diabetes my mealtime is made. My lunch buddies know that.

3. Turning dust into dreams

Right now, it is just a domain name – or an idea in my mind. But is something my wildest dreams were not able to contain. Until now. But just as God fashioned Adam out of dust, I am bringing this dream to life. Sorry I cannot disclose anything about this yet. It is enough to let you know that, I am really moving out my tent even before the year ends and another one starts. You. Better watch out. *winks*

4. No hand-me-downs this Christmas

Yay! So stoked to tell you I have ticked 6 items off my birthday wishlist, and I am off to crossing out #4 in no time. Well, I have no other things to say about this. Let me tinker with my gadget soon. Thanks, Dad!

5. Xyza Mae!

I have not seen a smarter kid at 4. You can leave her watch Coraline all by herself and then go out to stroll along the bay bridge, and look for some piggy bank at the flea market with Ate Haze. And when you are back, you see her eyes stuck on the screen without a trace of sleepiness, and not bothered by the film length, your departure and arrival, and the time of the day.

I do not care if your smart kid knows all the presidents of United States and the countries of the world. Xyza is my most favorite four-year-old in the world to date. And if only for her (and the buffet table, of course), I would go back to Cavite City, teach Sunday school there, face the strong wind that blows from the bay head-on, and start over and over again.

This is the point where I should be frying squid tofu and rice, making lunch, so I won’t starve myself till dinner. Clock check, 2:45 p.m. As far as I’m concerned, this is also the point where I should be writing more journalistic entries and less self-indulgent ones, in the hopes of making it to CNN’s Best Bloggers one day, so I won’t have to starve myself till the next payday.

But, like Joan Didion‘s mind linking her inexorably back to the lights up at the bevatron, I’m losing mine to the specific – nothing spectacular, but specific. They’re pictures that perhaps no one would care about except me. Because I’m the one who sees them, and I care about what I see.

And yeah, I do see smokin’ hot squid tofu covered with chili garlic sauce right now. I do see my friends writing emails with cheesy lines to me, and I can consume the entire length of my homepage spilling those private moments with them online.

Now that-- is not my lunch! I mean, not all of that. Don't even point to the glasses of beer. Aaack!

Other times, I see more.

(Can’t make them bigger. Just click each photo to view a larger version.;p)

But right now, my glasses are broken. Can’t see clearly ahead. Need to fix ’em my glasses first. Talk to you soon.

In lieu of words


Posted: 16 May 2009 in Post-its Online

Sharing stories – saying how things happened – can help impart more lessons and insights to people than merely saying what happened. When you tell a person ‘what’, even if he will not say it aloud, he will be asking himself ‘how’. So when you tell him how you conquered a problem or trial in your life, then he will see how to do things himself, not just know. Problems and trials may come in varied faces, but people can always relate to the heart of the matter.